Forward-looking Vision Vancouver borrows Obama's campaign slogan

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      Many U.S. pundits wrote U.S. president Barack Obama's political obituary after his Democratic Party was slaughtered in the 2010 midterm elections.

      But with the help of some savvy marketing, outreach to diverse communities, and a rather odd slogan—"Forward"—Obama cruised to victory in 2012.

      When Obama launched the "Forward" slogan, it elicited scorn from the right.

      Writing in the Washington Times, Victor Morton claimed that it has long ties to Marxism and socialism.

      But the public didn't care about, giving Obama a second term.

      Now, Vision Vancouver wants to replicate those efforts.

      This past weekend, it announced a marketing campaign directed at Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking voters.

      And the reigning civic party's newest English-language video is called Go Forward With Vision.

      It opens with Mayor Gregor Robertson bounding the stairs toward Vancouver City Hall. He looks a lot like Obama running up stairs whenever he's about go on-stage.

      The Vision Vancouver video also includes black-and-white footage.

      That was also central to the Obama campaign's videotaped theme song.

      It was called Forward: A New American Anthem for President Obama's Second Term.

      This video featured Herbie Hancock, Ne Yo, Johnny Rzeznick, Delta Rae, and Natasha Bedingfield, and was billed as a "100% grassroots effort" not produced or coordinated or done in consultation with the Obama reelection campaign.

      But that's not the only one that riffed on this theme.

      Singer-songwriter Crystal Lucas-Perry also created Take Us Forward (Obama 2012), which drove home the point that the president was the best candidate for the future. As you watch the video below, note the number of Hispanic voters who appear. They were a major factor in Obama's success.

      So far, there's no sign that local musical luminaries like Dan Mangan or Mother Mother are working on any forward-looking music videos for Vision Vancouver's 2014 reelection campaign.

      But given the similarities between Vision's forward-looking video and the Obama campaign's theme, don't be surprised if more parallels emerge in the coming months

      Obama made use of music in a major way to engage young people. And his Republican opponents were characterized as angry old white men—just as Robertson has described the NPA.

      The way the 2014 Vancouver campaign is unfolding, we can probably expect to see Gregor Robertson playing his tuba alongside some local musicians before election day in November. (You can see the mayor performing with Mangan here.)

      It fits into the overall marketing theme—Vision is hip and forward-looking whereas its opponents are stodgy and out of touch with the diversity of the city.


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      Jun 3, 2014 at 11:21am

      Vision’s divisive ways might catch up to them in the next election. Vision has an ugly habit of labeling their opponents. In pushing developments in the West end they started dividing gays (good) vs straights (bad) and continued pitting renters (good) vs owners (bad). Finding their momentum they moved on to the East Side (good) vs West Side (very bad indeed, especially Dunbar). In the Langara golf course debate we learned that golfers were (bad and elitist!) vs non golfers (good). In the mayor’s most recent speech he has added white (bad ) vs ethnic (good) and young (good) vs old (bad). Let’s forget the universal themes of agreeing with everything Vision says (expected) vs disagreeing with Vision (bad, f*cking hack, NIMBY, angry). No comment on Vision would be complete without discussing cyclists (good) vs drivers (almost impossibly bad).

      So the next election let’s see how Vision does after going out of their way to alienate: straight people, home owners, the West Side, golfers, white people, seniors and motorists.